Only a few weeks ago, the debate was whether the hard fork—splitting Bitcoin into separate entities: Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash—would mean the death of the pioneering cryptocurrency, or if it would open up the door to a new future. Though that debate has not quite yet been solved, we are quickly seeing that Bitcoin is here to stay.
In the midst of all the tumult surrounding the Bitcoin fork and the rise and rapid fall of Bitcoin Cash, there was an announcement made by Fidelity Investments, an announcement that has been long-awaited by fans of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general. Today, Fidelity announced that it would begin tracking Bitcoin for those utilizing its services.
According to an official statement released by Fidelity, they are going to begin allowing their customers to keep tabs on the cryptocurrency as an endeavor being offered in conjunction with crypto-wallet and exchange giant, Coinbase. According to the Senior Vice President of Fidelity Labs, Hadley Stern, “This is an experiment in the spirit of learning what these crypto assets are like and how our customers may want to interact with them.” For those who may not know, Fidelity Labs is the arm of Fidelity that deals with possible experimental and future endeavors, of which Bitcoin is clearly both.
While this move by Fidelity might come as a shock to some, those who are at all familiar with the company and industry will know that their CEO, Abigail Johnson, has long touted the sophistication and technologically advanced intricacies of the Bitcoin network and supporting blockchain. Though she did not make any announcements that might have given today’s move away, some have always thought that Fidelity might move on Bitcoin first.
What this announcement really does, apart from creating an added convenience for some clients, is add some credibility to Bitcoin in today’s financial world. Even prior to the fork, one of the biggest problems facing Bitcoin’s future legitimacy as an accepted currency/monetary tool was the fact that high-profile, trusted organizations were staying away from it. While the focal point of this conversation was on online and brick and mortar companies not accepting the currency in exchange for goods, there was also a good bit of frustration regarding financial institutions’ unwillingness to accept and adopt BTC.
Even though today’s announcement is nothing more than a baby step in all reality, Fidelity opened a major door that might just propel other, similar companies to do the same. Bitcoin is far from being used as widely and freely as the Dollar or the Euro, but it is slowly making inroads into the industries it needs to.
As the value of the cryptocurrency continues to increase alongside the userbase, it seems almost inevitable that Bitcoin will be a currency recognized by every major country the world over.
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